Martin Phipps
Cllr Martin Phipps

July 2023 was the hottest month on record. In Southern Europe, there were wildfires near Athens in Greece and in Rhodes, Switzerland, Croatia and the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma with temperatures in some places in the mid-40s.

While global temperatures soar and the UN Secretary-General has said we are in an era of “global boiling”, Rishi Sunak has just approved hundreds of new gas and oil licences.

You might think that Labour, the official opposition, would oppose this and the Tory race to “cut the green crap”. It seems an obvious position to take, given the deteriorating state of the climate, that building onshore wind is the cheapest way to generate electricity and that mass insulation is the best way to lower heating bills and reduce household emissions –  but you would be wrong.

 Labour have said they will not revoke the gas and oil licences. They’ve also said they can’t commit to their already-too-small green investment plans, as they need to stick to their fiscal rules. Never mind that the cost of inaction on the climate emergency comes with staggering environmental, human and financial costs.

It’s not just nationally that Labour is siding with the Tories on fuelling the climate crisis. Here in Sheffield, Labour is well known for the tree-felling saga when thousands of healthy street trees were felled unnecessarily and against residents’ wishes by a Labour majority council.

What Sheffield Labour may not be as well known for is their politicking on transport. Labour say they want better public transport, walking and cycling. But when it comes to it, they tried to axe schemes that improve bus times and reliability. They campaigned against low-traffic neighbourhoods and red routes. At a South Yorkshire level, they failed to attract funding for bus improvement plans that were so unambitious they aimed for a reduction in passengers even if successful. And Labour repeatedly voted against investigating a workplace parking levy that would fund millions of pounds for public and active transport each year.

Whether it’s in Sheffield or Westminster, it’s clear that only the Green Party will act on the climate emergency.


Martin Phipps, Green councillor for City ward

Sheffield Green Party

Christine Gilligan Kubo
Cllr Christine Gilligan

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ordered a review of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), saying that he is on the side of drivers and is supporting people to “use their cars to do all the things that matter to them.”

He argues the LTNs harm the freedom of motorists.

It seems this government is willing to put the lives of our children and grandchildren at risk by refusing to fund any more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and scrapping existing ones.This is a massively backwards attitude that shows the Tory government is not serious about road safety, tackling climate change, improving air quality in local neighbourhoods, encouraging more active lifestyles and better health outcomes.

Around 200 LTNs have been set up since 2020. They aim to reduce through-traffic in residential streets to encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport. People who need to drive to their homes or visit friends can still drive to homes in an LTN.

They open up networks of streets so people can safely travel through the area on foot, bicycle, using wheelchairs or by bus. They can also create spaces to play and to socialise.

Reducing motor traffic, reduces air pollution, noise pollution and road collisions and makes the character of residential streets more pleasant, inclusive and safer for people to walk and cycle.
Making space on our streets is key to achieving cleaner air and a lower carbon footprint whilst building healthier, safer and more resilient communities.

Many car journeys in Sheffield are under a mile and these short distances can easily be walked or cycled if people feel safer on their streets.

Removing existing LTNs and cancelling funding for future schemes is not harming the freedom of motorists. It is harming the future of our city, our children’s health and our planet.

Cllr Christine Gilligan Kubo,
Sheffield Green Party